MEET OUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

BEHAVIORIAL HEALTH 

Derrick Edwards, Ph.D. 

Dr. Edwards is a Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselor – Mental Health Service Provider. He received his Master’s degree from Tennessee Technological University (2011) and is a Doctoral degree from Trevecca Nazarene University (2016). Derrick’s research focus surrounds the psychological impacts of being an emergency responder. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Tennessee Tech University and a counselor in clinical practice. Derrick joined the fire service in 2004 and is a licensed Advanced Emergency Medical Technician.

Michelle Fayed 

Michelle Fayed is a Firefighter/Paramedic and 16-year veteran of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR). She has an Associate of Science Degree from Broward College.

She is an advocate for first responder mental wellness, and is especially passionate on the importance of supporting their families and caregivers. She has extensive knowledge and life experience with family/caregiver mental health issues, as she was a spouse and caregiver for her husband, an Army veteran diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for over 15 years. Her background led to the National Council for Behavioral Health contracting her as a Content Developer and National Trainer for the Mental Health First Aid Fire/EMS specialty module. Moreover, in 2017 they called upon her to advocate for support and funding of mental health awareness education for the fire and emergency service at Congressional Staff Briefings in Washington, D.C. 

Richard Gist, Ph.D.

Dr. Richard Gist is Principal Assistant to the Director of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department. His responsibilities include strategic planning, organizational development, and serving as liaison between the Fire Department and a wide range of agencies with whom we interact in the provision of our services. He is widely recognized in emergency services venues for development and execution of innovative projects, programs, and service initiatives to enhance the impact of fire and rescue services for communities and their citizens in both daily missions and catastrophic events.

Captain Frank Leto 

Captain Frank Leto is a 35-year veteran of the FDNY and the Deputy Director of its Counseling Service Unit (CSU). His association with the CSU began over 20 years ago as a Crisis Counselor for incidents such as line of duty deaths and mass casualty events. On September 11th, 2001 he responded to the World Trade Center as an officer in charge of a rescue team. Since 9/11, Captain Leto has developed innovative outreach, counseling and education programs for firefighters and their families who have experienced potentially traumatic events.

Chief John Oates

Chief John Oates was appointed in October 2008 to lead the East Hartford Fire Department. He is responsible for overall strategic leadership to ensure the department is well positioned to provide the best service to the citizens and visitors of the community. To accomplish this the Chief leads 130 members providing a broad range of fire and emergency services to the community.

Vickie Taylor, LCSW 

Vickie Taylor, LCSW, has provided behavioral health consultation to Prince William County public safety agencies since 1985. She worked in community behavioral health from 1980 to mid-2016. She is currently the Director of the Prince William Public Safety Resilience Center, a full-service counseling and training center dedicated to public safety personnel who are employed in Prince William County.

In addition, she has served the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation since its inception as a trainer, behavioral health consultant and coordinator of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Family Day activities. She served as a key developer and trainer for the Foundation’s Taking Care of Our Own program. In addition, she served as the co-facilitator of the Everyone Goes Home® Firefighter Life Safety Initiative 13 project on behavioral health for firefighters. She is a Stress First Aid instructor and trainer of trainers for Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS professionals and Law Enforcement Professionals.

Patricia Watson, PhD 

Dr. Patricia Watson, PhD has been a senior educational specialist for the National Center for PTSD since 1998. Prior to joining the National Center for PTSD in 1998, Dr. Watson was an active duty Navy psychologist for eight years, working with adults for four years, and children and families for four years. Her education includes a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Catholic University, and a postgraduate fellowship in pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical School.

CANCER

Alberto Juan Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD, MPH, CPH 

Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), Miller School of Medicine, Deputy Director of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative at the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Co-Principal Investigator of the national Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study.

Deputy Fire Chief Tim Cowan 

Timothy S. Cowan joined the FRCE in 2018 as a committee member on the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance. Timothy is a 25-year veteran of the fire service currently serving as Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Oneida Fire Department in New York. Cowan also serves as the City’s Fire Marshal. He began his career as a volunteer fire fighter in Central New York where he is still a member today. Through-out his time in the fire service, he has worked for the United States Air Force as a fire fighter / EMT and currently works part-time in a combination fire district as a fire fighter / EMT.

Casey Grant, P.E., FSFPE 

Casey Grant is Executive Director of DSRAE, LLC, an independent professional consulting firm with a focus on the design and implementation of research for the fire protection and emergency response communities.

For more than a dozen years prior to 2019, Casey managed numerous research projects with the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the non-profit research affiliate for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He served as the FPRF Executive Director since 2015, and prior to joining the FPRF in 2007, Casey was the Secretary of the NFPA Standards Council and Assistant Chief Engineer, among other roles at NFPA since 1988.

Casey holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, both in Fire Protection Engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Fire Protection Engineering in the States of California and Tennessee, and is a member of both the Beta and Gamma Chapters of the Salamander Fire Protection Honorary Society.

Jeff Hughes 

Jeff Hughes is a retired Fire Captain with the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) with 38 years of firefighting experience.

Jeff is a third-generation firefighter whose father died of occupational cancer after serving 21 years with the Long Beach Fire Department.   

Chief Frank Leeb

Frank Leeb is a Deputy Assistant Chief in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). He currently serves as the Chief of the Fire Academy. Frank also is the current chair of the FDNY’s Contamination Reduction Workgroup and has been a member of the FDNY since 1992. Frank has also been a member of the East Farmingdale Fire Department since 1983 (Long Island NY). He holds a BS degree in Fire Service Administration from SUNY and a Master’s degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS). He is a principal on the NFPA Technical Committee Fire and Emergency Service Organization and Deployment-Career (NFPA 1710) and NFPA 1585 the Standard on Contamination and Control (which is in its early developmental phase).

Chief Ed Mann 

Ed Mann became active as a volunteer with the FRCE in 2017 and has agreed to assist with projects as requested. Ed is currently The Director of Training and Education for Provident who has graciously given Ed the approval to volunteer for the FRCE.

Chief Brian McQueen 

Brian F. McQueen is a retired volunteer Fire Chief of the Whitesboro Fire Department, Whitesboro, NY. He is a forty-year member of the volunteer service. McQueen is a retired public school educator spending most of his time as a Principal and a District Level School Administrator. Brian’s fire service history allowed him to become training in fire service leadership as well as becoming a Fire Instructor 1, Interior Firefighter, Apparatus Driver, Safety Officer and Public Fire Educator. McQueen served Oneida County as a Deputy Fire Coordinator (Car 271) whose position allowed him to develop and carry out the training of the fire service in Oneida County.

Chief Mario Trevino 

Mario H. Trevino is a forty-three year veteran of the fire service. He rose through the ranks in the Seattle Fire Department to Deputy Fire Chief over 24-years, holding such assignments as EMS Chief, Arson Squad Commander, Marine Fire Response Commander, and various fire suppression posts.

CARDIAC 

James M. Brothers, MS, CRNP, CEMSO, CFO

James M. Brothers DNPc, CRNP, NRP, FAANP is a retired Assistant Chief for Howard County Fire and Rescue (HCFR). James has been with HCFR for 32 years and has served in numerous positions as a Paramedic / RN, Training Division Chief, Chief of Operations. He has received accreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) in Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Chief Emergency Medical Services Chief (CEMSO). James completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees and is now working on his Doctorate at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. James has worked as Family and Emergency Nurse Practitioner for the University of Maryland hospital systems and taught part-time at the University of Maryland in the School of Nursing. James has served on and led several committees at the local, regional, and federal levels.  

Brittany Hollerbach, Ph,D.  

Dr. Hollerbach is an Associate Scientist and Deputy Director at the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research, part of NDRI-USA. She has extensive experience working with the fire service on a number of federally funded studies including as the Principal Investigator (PI) on a recent FEMA-funded study examining perceptions of protective strategies for COVID-19. She has also done extensive work on the cardiovascular function and physiologic stress of firefighters. Dr. Hollerbach has an interest in firefighter health in general and female firefighter health specifically, given her background as a former firefighter.

Sara Jahnke, Ph.D. 

Director and a Senior Scientist with the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at the National Development & Research Institutes - USA. With over a decade of research experience on firefighter health, she has been the Principal Investigator on ten national studies as well as dozens of studies as a co-investigator. Her work has focused on a range of health concerns including the health of women firefighters, behavioral health, risk of injury, cancer, cardiovascular risk factors, and substance use with funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant R&D Program, the National Institutes of Health and other foundations. She has more than 100 publications in the peer reviewed medical literature.

Tiffany Lipsey, M. Ed., ACSM 

Tiffany Lipsey is the Director of the Heart Disease Prevention Program and First Responder Testing Programs in the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory at Colorado State University. As an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, she teaches undergraduate courses encompassing health, wellness, aging, chronic disease, and exercise prescription. She is an American College of Sports Medicine - Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Her experience includes over 20 years in exercise physiology focusing on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment, prevention and treatment for CVD. She has been working with Colorado firefighters and emergency personnel for 20 years and has been involved in physiological testing for over 1,500 of them. Projects in firefighting include cardiovascular disease risk assessment, lifestyle modification, carcinogen exposure, temperature regulation, cooling mechanisms using adjunct cooling tools, novel medical devices, noise exposure and performance.

Kevin Quinn

Kevin D. Quinn is in his 47th year of experience in the fire service. He recently retired as a Deputy Chief of the Union Fire District in South Kingstown, RI, and has returned to where he began in the volunteer fire service – actively responding to fires and alarms with his original Station #3 of the Union Fire District. Quinn currently serves as the National Volunteer Fire Council 1st Vice Chairman, Immediate Past Chairman of the NVFC and served briefly as the NVFC Interim CEO.

Denise Smith, Ph.D. 

Professor Smith's primary area of research is cardiovascular health, with a specific focus on the relationship between heat stress and cardiovascular function. A significant portion of her research focuses on the cardiovascular strain associated with firefighting activity. She has led several government-funded studies to investigate strategies to minimize the physiological strain associated with firefighting. Professor Smith has also conducted several laboratory studies designed to identify specific components of firefighting activity (work performed, heat stress, sympathetic nervous stimulation) that are responsible for specific physiological responses to the combined stress of firefighting. Professor Smith has coauthored several textbooks and has published over 60 scientific papers, primarily on firefighter cardiovascular health. She has been awarded more than 15 million dollars in research funding, with awards from FEMA-AFG, DHS S&T, NIOSH, and DoD.

FIREFIGHTER PHYSICALS 

Jill Captain, MD, MPH  

Former Medical Director Montgomery County, Maryland Fire/Rescue Occupational Medicine Instrumental in collaborating with Career Union, volunteers, community medical professionals and workers' compensation lawyers. 

Kepra Jack, RN, BSN 

Kepra Jack was an Emergency Room Nurse and Paramedic Educator for 15 years. Kepra has become an expert in the health and wellness of our Public Safety providers and has spent the last 7 years helping build our testing and education programs. Kepra works with various fire departments and law enforcement agencies, across Arizona and Massachusetts to educate members on relevant health risks specific to their jobs. Kepra works continuously to expand the scope of the HeartFit program to identify key partners in the healthcare community to help develop early detection programs that focus on Cancer and Cardiac risk. Sitting on the multiple NFPA committees gives Kepra the insight of changes to help direct the programs to keep our First Responders healthy.

Alisa Koval

 Alisa Koval MD, MPH/MHSA is the Medical Director for the Center for Occupational Safety and Health at Denver Health & Hospital Authority. She is a Past President of the Rocky Mountain Academy of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, and currently a member of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine House of Delegates. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Building Warriors, she serves on the Annual Physicals Committee for the First Responder Center of Excellence, a subsidiary of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. She is a graduate of the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Residency program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She began her education at the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Honors, followed by a Master of Health Service Administration. 

Executive Assistant Fire Chief Todd LeDuc, MS, CFO, FIFirE 

Todd J. LeDuc, MS, CFO, FIFirE is a twenty nine year veteran and currently Executive Assistant Fire Chief of the Broward County Fire Rescue service, an internationally accredited metro department of 750 members. He has served in numerous ranks and positions including Quality Manager, EMS Chief, Chief of Professional Standards, Technical Services and Operations Chief before assuming the Executive Assistant Chief role in the Office of Fire Chief. He has been an elected member of the International Association of Fire Chief’s Safety, Health & Survival Board of Directors the last 5 as Board Secretary.

Chief John Sullivan 

Chief John F. Sullivan of the Brookline (MA) Fire Department is a 31-year veteran of the fire service, including over three decades with the Worcester (MA) Fire Department.

James Williams 

HEALTH AND WELLNESS (FITNESS)

Katie Dennison 

To Be Posted

Chris Flemming 

To Be Posted

Dan Kerrigan 

Dan Kerrigan is a 36-year veteran of the fire and emergency services profession, serving in positions from firefighter through fire chief, emergency management director and fire marshal. Kerrigan is the co-author of the bestselling book Firefighter Functional Fitness, a member of the IAFC-SHS Board of Directors, & international speaker on firefighter health and wellness, strategic planning, and public safety leadership.

Fernando Montes

Fernando is the Exercise physiologist for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, where he provides subject matter expertise to the department in the areas of: 

Kory Pearn 

Publisher and CEO of CRACKYL Media Inc., 19-year Professional Firefighter, and Industry Author & Keynote Speaker who acts as a passionate mental health advocate, spreading awareness on what it takes to not only survive but thrive in the dynamic job of firefighting. CRACKYL Media Inc. was forged in an effort to help firefighters battle the pressures on and off the job. Other areas of focus and expertise include education around career longevity as well as firefighter health & wellness. CRACKYL Magazine was successfully launched in the spring of 2021 - a lifestyle and health magazine for firefighters across North America and beyond.

Ursula Ulery 

Ursula is the Health & Fitness Coordinator for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. She holds a Bachelors in Exercise & Sports Science from Frostburg State University and began her career working with strength and conditioning for collegiate athletes. She also holds a Masters in Clinical Human Performance from Liberty University. After she graduated from Frostburg, she began working as a civilian health educator for military personnel, including airborne divisions, special operations and military police. 

Bert Vergara 

January 2017 - Current

Health and Fitness Director Fl. Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative | Lake Worth, FL
As a volunteer member of our non-profit organization, I am tasked with collaborating with fire departments across our state to promote and emphasize on the importance of nutrition and exercise. I'm also a member of our State F.A.C.E Team, (Firefighters Attacking Cancer Epidemic), where we share a great partnership with the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and work closely with the Firefighter Cancer Initiative Team.  

Aaron Zamzow 

TBD

HEALTH AND WELLNESS (NUTRITION)

Rhonda Cohen 

Rhonda Cohen has served 30 plus years as a Firefighter and EMT with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, MD. She encourages and inspires First Responders to perform optimally by providing individualized nutrition, fitness and wellness education and training. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she earned a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics. She went on to become a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Sports Nutritionist. She is currently working on obtaining her certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. 

Megan Lautz, MS, RD, CSCS, TSAC-F

Megan Lautz is a Registered Dietitian and strength coach with a Master's in Sports Nutrition. Megan’s mission is to help firefighters perform better, recover faster, and enjoy long healthy retirements.

 Chloe Schweinshaut

Chloe Schweinshaut is a registered dietitian who owns a private practice, Riverside Nutrition in Cambridge, MA. She works with a variety of clients who are looking for ways to improve their health through diet and lifestyle with a particular focus on first responder nutrition. She created the website Healthy Response to address the unique challenges that firefighters face when it comes to eating healthy.

 Jonathan Tate

Jonathan Tate is a D.C. firefighter and EMT and Founder of Food on the Stove, a nonprofit that provides tools and resources to help firefighters live a healthier lifestyle through enhanced nutrition and exercise.

Aaron Zamzow 

TBD